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The Patent Cooperative Treaty, commonly referred to as the PCT, enables a patent applicant to seek patent protection in each country that is a member of the treaty. This patent protection is initiated by filing an “international patent application” or “PCT application,” however it is important to remember that there is no international patent. Rather, the PCT application enables eventual entry of the PCT application and patenting process in the individual countries or regions participating in the PCT.
Careful consideration should be made if the PCT is the best or preferred venue for international patenting outside the US. Factors to consider include uniformity of the international application, markets, enforcement, cost and time. With the selection of filing a PCT application, other decisions should be deliberately determined including the selection of an international search authority, and amendment of the application in the international phase, and the benefits, cost and timing of such selections.
If you are considering filing any patent application, whether in the US or internationally, it is strongly recommended to speak with a patent attorney to get custom advice on filing strategies.